World leaders join new drive to beat non-communicable diseases

 WHO is announcing today a new high-level commission, comprised of heads of state and ministers, leaders in health and development and entrepreneurs. The group will propose bold and innovative solutions to accelerate prevention and control of the leading killers on the planet – noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) like heart and lung disease, cancers, and diabetes.

The WHO Independent Global High-level Commission on NCDs is co-chaired by President Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay; President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka; President Sauli Niinistö of Finland; Veronika Skvortsova, Minister of Healthcare of the Russian Federation; and Sania Nishtar, former Federal Minister of Pakistan.

Seven in 10 deaths globally every year are from NCDs, the main contributors to which are tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity. More than 15 million people between the ages of 30 and 70 years die from NCDs annually. Low- and lower-middle income countries are increasingly affected, with half of premature deaths from NCDs occurring in those countries. Many lives can be saved from NCDs through early diagnosis and improved access to quality and affordable treatment, as well as a whole-of-government approach to reduce the main risk factors.

Read more at: World Health Organisation

UN Steps up Action to Make Urban Spaces More Climate-Resilient

UNFCCC photo for resilient cities article

UN Climate Change News, 15 February 2018 –  The 9th World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur concluded this week with a call to use the new urban agenda as an accelerator to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and support climate action.

According to the UN, the world’s urban population is expected to grow by 2.5 billion by 2050, with over 90 per cent of this growth to take place in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean.

This presents an unprecedented opportunity to re-define urban development, including inventing in livable, low-carbon and resilient cities.

Experts at the meeting recognized the fact that climate change will exacerbate the vulnerability of human settlements to natural and man-made hazards globally. This will especially be the case in developing countries, coastal and delta regions, and Small Island Developing States.

Read more at: United Nations Framework on Convention on Climate Change

Saint Lucia adopts climate-smart cassava cultivation, encourages production of blended bread


The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) is spearheading a project which will not only increase the cultivation of cassava throughout the Region but also encourages the production of cassava blended bread as a healthier alternative to the traditional white bread.

Cassava is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible, starchy, tuberous root which is a major source of carbohydrates. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has collaborated with the Ministry of Agriculture on a Roots and Tubers project funded by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). National Coordinator for the project, Marnus Cherry said among the benefits of this project is a projected increase in sweet cassava production island wide.

“It’s a crop that is drought resistant, so you can call it a climate smart crop and cassava has been one of the root crops most researched by researchers and other scientists. It also has a better finished product as compared to sweet potato and other root and tuber crops.”

Another component of the project is the value added aspect with the production of cassava mash which is used to make cassava blended bread. The bread is currently being produced by at least four bakeries on island. Manager for Manees Bakery, Sylvia Cadasse said the only drawback is an increased cost in production due to the refrigeration of cassava mash.

Blended cassava rolls were a hit at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture in the Cayman Islands in 2016
Blended cassava rolls were a hit at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture in the Cayman Islands in 2016

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CARICOM Agriculture Ministers meet in preparation for FAO Regional Conference

Ms. Nisa Surujbally, Programme Manager, Agriculture and Industry at the CARICOM Secretariat (standing) consults with chair of the meeting, the Hon. Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Trinidad and Tobago. Also in photo are, from left, Richard Brown, Ph.D., Director Single Market and Sectoral Programmes, CARICOM Secretariat,  Mr. Joseph Cox, ASG, Trade and Economic Integration, CARICOM Secretariat; and Lystra Fletcher-Paul, PhD., FAO Sub-regional Coordinator
Ms. Nisa Surujbally, Programme Manager, Agriculture and Industry at the CARICOM Secretariat (standing) consults with chair of the meeting, the Hon. Clarence Rambharat, Minister of Agriculture, Trinidad and Tobago. Also in photo are, from left, Richard Brown, Ph.D., Director Single Market and Sectoral Programmes, CARICOM Secretariat, Mr. Joseph Cox, ASG, Trade and Economic Integration, CARICOM Secretariat; and Lystra Fletcher-Paul, PhD., FAO Sub-regional Coordinator

Ministers of Agriculture of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) on Monday began preparations for the 35th Food and Agriculture (FAO) Regional Conference which will be held in Jamaica, 5-8 March, 2018. The preparatory consultation was held at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana, with some delegates joining the discussions via videoconferencing.

The regional conference in Montego Bay will help the FAO to strategise for effective responses to the priorities and challenges that the Region faces in the coming biennium.

Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries of Trinidad and Tobago, the Hon. Clarence Rambharat chaired the consultation at which the Director-General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Permanent Secretaries and other officials in the sector were present.

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